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Laíns I, Kelly RS, Miller JB, Silva R, Vavvas DG, Kim IK, Murta JN, Lasky-Su J, Miller JW, Husain D. Human Plasma Metabolomics Study across All Stages of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Identifies Potential Lipid Biomarkers. Ophthalmology 2018;125(2):245-254.Abstract
PURPOSE: To characterize the plasma metabolomic profile of patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using mass spectrometry (MS). DESIGN: Cross-sectional observational study. PARTICIPANTS: We prospectively recruited participants with a diagnosis of AMD and a control group (>50 years of age) without any vitreoretinal disease. METHODS: All participants underwent color fundus photography, used for AMD diagnosis and staging, according to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study classification scheme. Fasting blood samples were collected and plasma was analyzed by Metabolon, Inc. (Durham, NC), using ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) and high-resolution MS. Metabolon's hardware and software were used to identify peaks and control quality. Principal component analysis and multivariate regression were performed to assess differences in the metabolomic profiles of AMD patients versus controls, while controlling for potential confounders. For biological interpretation, pathway enrichment analysis of significant metabolites was performed using MetaboAnalyst. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measures were levels of plasma metabolites in participants with AMD compared with controls and among different AMD severity stages. RESULTS: We included 90 participants with AMD (30 with early AMD, 30 with intermediate AMD, and 30 with late AMD) and 30 controls. Using UPLC and MS, 878 biochemicals were identified. Multivariate logistic regression identified 87 metabolites with levels that differed significantly between AMD patients and controls. Most of these metabolites (82.8%; n = 72), including the most significant metabolites, belonged to the lipid pathways. Analysis of variance revealed that of the 87 metabolites, 48 (55.2%) also were significantly different across the different stages of AMD. A significant enrichment of the glycerophospholipids pathway was identified (P = 4.7 × 10) among these metabolites. CONCLUSIONS: Participants with AMD have altered plasma metabolomic profiles compared with controls. Our data suggest that the most significant metabolites map to the glycerophospholipid pathway. These findings have the potential to improve our understanding of AMD pathogenesis, to support the development of plasma-based metabolomics biomarkers of AMD, and to identify novel targets for treatment of this blinding disease.
Cattaneo Z, Lega C, Rinaldi L, Fantino M, Ferrari C, Merabet LB, Vecchi T. The Spatial Musical Association of Response Codes does not depend on a normal visual experience: A study with early blind individuals. Atten Percept Psychophys 2018;80(4):813-821.Abstract
Converging evidence suggests that the perception of auditory pitch exhibits a characteristic spatial organization. This pitch-space association can be demonstrated experimentally by the Spatial Musical Association of Response Codes (SMARC) effect. This is characterized by faster response times when a low-positioned key is pressed in response to a low-pitched tone, and a high-positioned key is pressed in response to a high-pitched tone. To investigate whether the development of this pitch-space association is mediated by normal visual experience, we tested a group of early blind individuals on a task that required them to discriminate the timbre of different instrument sounds with varying pitch. Results revealed a comparable pattern in the SMARC effect in both blind participants and sighted controls, suggesting that the lack of prior visual experience does not prevent the development of an association between pitch height and vertical space.
Guo C, Cho K-S, Li Y, Tchedre K, Antolik C, Ma J, Chew J, Utheim TP, Huang XA, Yu H, Malik MTA, Anzak N, Chen DF. IGFBPL1 Regulates Axon Growth through IGF-1-mediated Signaling Cascades. Sci Rep 2018;8(1):2054.Abstract
Activation of axonal growth program is a critical step in successful optic nerve regeneration following injury. Yet the molecular mechanisms that orchestrate this developmental transition are not fully understood. Here we identified a novel regulator, insulin-like growth factor binding protein-like 1 (IGFBPL1), for the growth of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons. Expression of IGFBPL1 correlates with RGC axon growth in development, and acute knockdown of IGFBPL1 with shRNA or IGFBPL1 knockout in vivo impaired RGC axon growth. In contrast, administration of IGFBPL1 promoted axon growth. Moreover, IGFBPL1 bound to insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and subsequently induced calcium signaling and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) phosphorylation to stimulate axon elongation. Blockage of IGF-1 signaling abolished IGFBPL1-mediated axon growth, and vice versa, IGF-1 required the presence of IGFBPL1 to promote RGC axon growth. These data reveal a novel element in the control of RGC axon growth and suggest an unknown signaling loop in the regulation of the pleiotropic functions of IGF-1. They suggest new therapeutic target for promoting optic nerve and axon regeneration and repair of the central nervous system.
Bauer CM, Cabral HJ, Killiany RJ. Multimodal Discrimination between Normal Aging, Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer's Disease and Prediction of Cognitive Decline. Diagnostics (Basel) 2018;8(1)Abstract
Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are associated with widespread changes in brain structure and function, as indicated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) morphometry and 18-fluorodeoxyglucose position emission tomography (FDG PET) metabolism. Nevertheless, the ability to differentiate between AD, MCI and normal aging groups can be difficult. Thus, the goal of this study was to identify the combination of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers, MRI morphometry, FDG PET metabolism and neuropsychological test scores to that best differentiate between a sample of normal aging subjects and those with MCI and AD from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. The secondary goal was to determine the neuroimaging variables from MRI, FDG PET and CSF biomarkers that can predict future cognitive decline within each group. To achieve these aims, a series of multivariate stepwise logistic and linear regression models were generated. Combining all neuroimaging modalities and cognitive test scores significantly improved the index of discrimination, especially at the earliest stages of the disease, whereas MRI gray matter morphometry variables best predicted future cognitive decline compared to other neuroimaging variables. Overall these findings demonstrate that a multimodal approach using MRI morphometry, FDG PET metabolism, neuropsychological test scores and CSF biomarkers may provide significantly better discrimination than any modality alone.
Bhattacharya S, García-Posadas L, Hodges RR, Makarenkova HP, Masli S, Dartt DA. Alteration in nerves and neurotransmitter stimulation of lacrimal gland secretion in the TSP-1 mouse model of aqueous deficiency dry eye. Mucosal Immunol 2018;11(4):1138-1148.Abstract
The purpose of this study is to determine neural, vascular, protein secretion, and cellular signaling changes with disease progression in lacrimal glands of the thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) mouse model of dry eye compared to C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) mice. Neural innervation was reduced in TSP-1 lacrimal glands compared to WT controls, whereas the number of blood vessels was increased. Intracellular Ca stores and the amount of lysosomes, mitochondria, and secretory granules, but not the endoplasmic reticulum, were reduced in TSP-1 compared to WT acini at 12 weeks of age. Ex vivo high KCl-evoked secretion was decreased in TSP-1 compared to WT lacrimal gland tissue pieces. The α-adrenergic agonist-stimulated response was increased in TSP-1 at 4 and 24 weeks but decreased at 12 weeks, and the ATP and MeSATP-stimulated peak [Ca] responses were decreased at 24 weeks. These changes were observed prior to the appearance of mononuclear infiltrates. We conclude that in the lacrimal gland the absence of TSP-1: injures peripheral nerves; blocks efferent nerve activation; decreases protein secretion; and alters intracellular Ca stores. Through these effects the absence of TSP-1 leads to disruption of ocular surface homeostasis and development of dry eye.
Strainiene E, Binkis M, Urnikyte S, Stankevicius V, Sasnauskiene A, Kundrotas G, Kazlauskas A, Suziedelis K. Microenvironment dependent gene expression signatures in reprogrammed human colon normal and cancer cell lines. BMC Cancer 2018;18(1):222.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Since the first evidence suggesting existence of stem-like cancer cells, the process of cells reprogramming to the stem cell state remains as an attractive tool for cancer stemness research. Current knowledge in the field of cancer stemness, indicates that the microenvironment is a fundamental regulator of cell behavior. With regard to this, we investigated the changes of genome wide gene expression in reprogrammed human colon normal epithelial CRL-1831 and colon carcinoma DLD1 cell lines grown under more physiologically relevant three-dimensional (3D) cell culture microenvironment compared to 2D monolayer. METHODS: Whole genome gene expression changes were evaluated in both cell lines cultured under 3D conditions over a 2D monolayer by gene expression microarray analysis. To evaluate the biological significance of gene expression changes, we performed pathway enrichment analysis using the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database. Gene network analysis was used to study relationships between differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in functional categories by the GeneMANIA Cytoscape toolkit. RESULTS: In total, we identified 3228 and 2654 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) for colon normal and cancer reprogrammed cell lines, respectively. Furthermore, the expression of 1097 genes was commonly regulated in both cell lines. KEGG enrichment analysis revealed that in total 129 and 101 pathways for iPSC-CRL-1831 and for CSC-DLD1, respectively, were enriched. Next, we grouped these pathways into three functional categories: cancer transformation/metastasis, cell interaction, and stemness. β-catenin (CTNNB1) was confirmed as a hub gene of all three functional categories. CONCLUSIONS: Our present findings suggest common pathways between reprogrammed human colon normal epithelium (iPSC-CRL-1831) and adenocarcinoma (CSC-DLD1) cells grown under 3D microenvironment. In addition, we demonstrated that pathways important for cancer transformation and tumor metastatic activity are altered both in normal and cancer stem-like cells during the transfer from 2D to 3D culture conditions. Thus, we indicate the potential of cell culture models enriched in normal and cancer stem-like cells for the identification of new therapeutic targets in cancer treatment.
Chen X, Liu Y, Zhang Y, Kam WR, Pasquale LR, Sullivan DA. Impact of aromatase absence on murine intraocular pressure and retinal ganglion cells. Sci Rep 2018;8(1):3280.Abstract
We hypothesize that aromatase, an enzyme that regulates estrogen production, plays a significant role in the control of intraocular pressure (IOP) and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). To begin to test our hypothesis, we examined the impact of aromatase absence, which completely eliminates estrogen synthesis, in male and female mice. Studies were performed with adult, age-matched wild type (WT) and aromatase knockout (ArKO) mice. IOP was measured in a masked fashion in both eyes of conscious mice at 12 and 24 weeks of age. Retinas were obtained and processed for RGC counting with a confocal microscope. IOP levels in both 12- and 24-week old female ArKO mice were significantly higher than those of age- and sex-matched WT controls. The mean increase in IOP was 7.9% in the 12-week-, and 19.7% in the 24-week-old mice, respectively. These changes were accompanied by significant 9% and 7% decreases in RGC numbers in the ArKO female mice, relative to controls, at 12- and 24-weeks, respectively. In contrast, aromatase deficiency did not lead to an increased IOP in male mice. There was a significant reduction in RGC counts in the 12-, but not 24-, week-old male ArKO mice, as compared to their age- and sex-matched WT controls. Overall, our findings show that aromatase inhibition in females is associated with elevated IOP and reduced RGC counts.
Li W, Webster KA, LeBlanc ME, Tian H. Secretogranin III: a diabetic retinopathy-selective angiogenic factor. Cell Mol Life Sci 2018;75(4):635-647.Abstract
Secretogranin III (Scg3) is a member of the granin protein family that regulates the biogenesis of secretory granules. Scg3 was recently discovered as an angiogenic factor, expanding its functional role to extrinsic regulation. Unlike many other known angiogenic factors, the pro-angiogenic actions of Scg3 are restricted to pathological conditions. Among thousands of quantified endothelial ligands, Scg3 has the highest binding activity ratio to diabetic vs. healthy mouse retinas and lowest background binding to normal vessels. In contrast, vascular endothelial growth factor binds to and stimulates angiogenesis of both diabetic and control vasculature. Consistent with its role in pathological angiogenesis, Scg3-neutralizing antibodies alleviate retinal vascular leakage in mouse models of diabetic retinopathy and retinal neovascularization in oxygen-induced retinopathy mice. This review summarizes our current knowledge of Scg3 as a regulatory protein of secretory granules, highlights its new role as a highly disease-selective angiogenic factor, and envisions Scg3 inhibitors as "selective angiogenesis blockers" for targeted therapy.
Wan MJ, Gilbert A, Kazlas M, Wu C, Mantagos IS, Hunter DG, Shah AS. The Effect of Botulinum Toxin Augmentation on Strabismus Surgery for Large-Angle Infantile Esotropia. Am J Ophthalmol 2018;189:160-165.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine whether botulinum toxin augments the effect of strabismus surgery in pediatric patients with large-angle infantile esotropia. DESIGN: Retrospective, comparative, case series. METHODS: Setting: Tertiary-care pediatric hospital. STUDY POPULATION: Patients with large-angle infantile esotropia. INTERVENTION: Treatment with botulinum toxin-augmented bilateral medial rectus muscle recessions ("augmented-surgery group") or traditional bilateral medial rectus muscle recessions ("surgery-only group"). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The effect of surgery on ocular alignment at 4 months, measured in prism diopters of change per mm of surgery (PD/mm). RESULTS: There were 14 patients in the augmented-surgery group and 16 patients in the surgery-only group. The mean effect on alignment was significantly greater in the augmented-surgery group compared to the surgery-only group at 4 months (5.7 ± 1.3 vs 4.0 ± 1.4 PD/mm, P = .002) and at 1 year (5.4 ± 1.2 vs 3.7 ± 1.2 PD/mm, P = .002). There was a partial loss of treatment effect between 4 months and 1 year in both groups, which was similar in magnitude (P = .57). On linear regression, there was a trend toward a positive correlation between botulinum toxin dose and treatment effect, but this was not statistically significant (P = .09). CONCLUSIONS: Botulinum toxin augments the surgical effect of medial rectus muscle recession. Botulinum toxin-augmented surgery may be an alternative to traditional options for large-angle infantile esotropia. A surgical dosing table is proposed for this technique.
Jakobiec FA, Ma L, Wolkow N, Cameron DJ, Maltry AC. Osseous and Adipocytic Differentiations in the Intraocular Lens and Vitreous. Am J Ophthalmol 2018;186:77-88.Abstract
PURPOSE: To analyze 3 unusual mesenchymal transformations within the eye: adipose or osseous metaplasia of the lens and adipose tissue in the vitreous cavity. DESIGN: Observational case series. METHODS: Reevaluation of clinicopathologic diagnoses and histopathologic findings in sections stained with hematoxylin-eosin, periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) reaction, and Masson trichrome method. RESULTS: The 3 cases of mesenchymal transformation occurred in microphthalmic eyes with persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (more recently termed persistent fetal vasculature). In 1 case there was total lens replacement with lamellar bone; in another, total replacement of the crystalline lens by adipose tissue; and in a third, an anomalous pocket of adipose tissue in the central vitreous. Multifocal remnants of the lens capsule were seen in the osseous case but were absent from the adipocytic cases. The vitreous adipose tissue was surrounded by an elaborate capillary plexus with an empty, collapsed PAS-positive lens capsule in the pupillary region. Anterior pigmented neuroectodermal disorganization, dysgenesis of angle structures, and a hypoplastic or disorganized iris were also observed in the 3 cases. CONCLUSIONS: After review of the literature, it appears that lenticular osseous replacement occurs more often than adipocytic. In addition to vascularization of the lens through a capsular dehiscence, other causes are explored, including direct epithelial-mesenchymal transformations of the lens epithelium or, less likely, of the disorganized adjacent neuroectoderm. The focus of vitreous adipose tissue may represent a transformed luxated lens extruded from its capsule, which was left behind in the pupillary zone.
Cheng L, Wong LJ, Yan N, Han RC, Yu H, Guo C, Batsuuri K, Zinzuwadia A, Guan R, Cho K-S, Chen DF. Ezh2 does not mediate retinal ganglion cell homeostasis or their susceptibility to injury. PLoS One 2018;13(2):e0191853.Abstract
Epigenetic predisposition is thought to critically contribute to adult-onset disorders, such as retinal neurodegeneration. The histone methyltransferase, enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (Ezh2), is transiently expressed in the perinatal retina, particularly enriched in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). We previously showed that embryonic deletion of Ezh2 from retinal progenitors led to progressive photoreceptor degeneration throughout life, demonstrating a role for embryonic predisposition of Ezh2-mediated repressive mark in maintaining the survival and function of photoreceptors in the adult. Enrichment of Ezh2 in RGCs leads to the question if Ezh2 also mediates gene expression and function in postnatal RGCs, and if its deficiency changes RGC susceptibility to cell death under injury or disease in the adult. To test this, we generated mice carrying targeted deletion of Ezh2 from RGC progenitors driven by Math5-Cre (mKO). mKO mice showed no detectable defect in RGC development, survival, or cell homeostasis as determined by physiological analysis, live imaging, histology, and immunohistochemistry. Moreover, RGCs of Ezh2 deficient mice revealed similar susceptibility against glaucomatous and acute optic nerve trauma-induced neurodegeneration compared to littermate floxed or wild-type control mice. In agreement with the above findings, analysis of RNA sequencing of RGCs purified from Ezh2 deficient mice revealed few gene changes that were related to RGC development, survival and function. These results, together with our previous report, support a cell lineage-specific mechanism of Ezh2-mediated gene repression, especially those critically involved in cellular function and homeostasis.
Utochkin IS, Wolfe JM. Visual search for changes in scenes creates long-term, incidental memory traces. Atten Percept Psychophys 2018;80(4):829-843.Abstract
Humans are very good at remembering large numbers of scenes over substantial periods of time. But how good are they at remembering changes to scenes? In this study, we tested scene memory and change detection two weeks after initial scene learning. In Experiments 1-3, scenes were learned incidentally during visual search for change. In Experiment 4, observers explicitly memorized scenes. At test, after two weeks observers were asked to discriminate old from new scenes, to recall a change that they had detected in the study phase, or to detect a newly introduced change in the memorization experiment. Next, they performed a change detection task, usually looking for the same change as in the study period. Scene recognition memory was found to be similar in all experiments, regardless of the study task. In Experiment 1, more difficult change detection produced better scene memory. Experiments 2 and 3 supported a "depth-of-processing" account for the effects of initial search and change detection on incidental memory for scenes. Of most interest, change detection was faster during the test phase than during the study phase, even when the observer had no explicit memory of having found that change previously. This result was replicated in two of our three change detection experiments. We conclude that scenes can be encoded incidentally as well as explicitly and that changes in those scenes can leave measurable traces even if they are not explicitly recalled.
Salongcay RP, Silva PS. The Role of Teleophthalmology in the Management of Diabetic Retinopathy. Asia Pac J Ophthalmol (Phila) 2018;Abstract
The emergence of diabetes as a global epidemic is accompanied by the rise in diabetes‑related retinal complications. Diabetic retinopathy, if left undetected and untreated, can lead to severe visual impairment and affect an individual's productivity and quality of life. Globally, diabetic retinopathy remains one of the leading causes of visual loss in the working‑age population. Teleophthalmology for diabetic retinopathy is an innovative means of retinal evaluation that allows identification of eyes at risk for visual loss, thereby preserving vision and decreasing the overall burden to the health care system. Numerous studies worldwide have found teleophthalmology to be a reliable and cost‑efficient alternative to traditional clinical examinations. It has reduced barriers to access to specialized eye care in both rural and urban communities. In teleophthalmology applications for diabetic retinopathy, it is critical that standardized protocols in image acquisition and evaluation are used to ensure low image ungradable rates and maintain the quality of images taken. Innovative imaging technology such as ultrawide field imaging has the potential to provide significant benefit with integration into teleophthalmology programs. Teleophthalmology programs for diabetic retinopathy rely on a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach with partnerships across specialties and health care professionals to attain wider acceptability and allow evidence‑based eye care to reach a much broader population.
Keohane CE, Steele AD, Fetzer C, Khowsathit J, Van Tyne D, Moynié L, Gilmore MS, Karanicolas J, Sieber SA, Wuest WM. Promysalin Elicits Species-Selective Inhibition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa by Targeting Succinate Dehydrogenase. J Am Chem Soc 2018;140(5):1774-1782.Abstract
Natural products have served as an inspiration to scientists both for their complex three-dimensional architecture and exquisite biological activity. Promysalin is one such Pseudomonad secondary metabolite that exhibits narrow-spectrum antibacterial activity, originally isolated from the rhizosphere. We herein utilize affinity-based protein profiling (AfBPP) to identify succinate dehydrogenase (Sdh) as the biological target of the natural product. The target was further validated in silico, in vitro, in vivo, and through the selection, and sequencing, of a resistant mutant. Succinate dehydrogenase plays an essential role in primary metabolism of Pseudomonas aeruginosa as the only enzyme that is involved both in the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) and in respiration via the electron transport chain. These findings add credence to other studies that suggest that the TCA cycle is an understudied target in the development of novel therapeutics to combat P. aeruginosa, a significant pathogen in clinical settings.
Bauer CM, Cattaneo Z, Merabet LB. Early blindness is associated with increased volume of the uncinate fasciculus. Eur J Neurosci 2018;47(5):427-432.Abstract
Growing evidence demonstrates dramatic structural and functional neuroplastic changes in individuals born with early-onset blindness. For example, cross-modal sensory processing at the level of the occipital cortex appears to be associated with adaptive behaviors in the blind. However, detailed studies examining the structural properties of key white matter pathways in other regions of the brain remain limited. Given that blind individuals rely heavily on their sense of hearing, we examined the structural properties of two important pathways involved with auditory processing, namely the uncinate and arcuate fasciculi. High angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) tractography was used to examine structural parameters (i.e., tract volume and quantitative anisotropy, or QA) of these two fasciculi in a sample of 13 early blind individuals and 14 normally sighted controls. Compared to controls, early blind individuals showed a significant increase in the volume of the left uncinate fasciculus. A small area of increased QA was also observed halfway along the right arcuate fasciculus in the blind group. These findings contribute to our knowledge regarding the broad neuroplastic changes associated with profound early blindness.

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